Prepare yourself to discern what is and what is not of God today. Still yourself so you can hear how God is calling you.
Isaiah 26:1-15 (NRSV)
On that day this song will be sung in the land of Judah:
We have a strong city;
he sets up victory
like walls and bulwarks.
Open the gates,
so that the righteous nation that keeps faith
may enter in.
Those of steadfast mind you keep in peace—
in peace because they trust in you.
Trust in the LORD forever,
for in the LORD GOD
you have an everlasting rock.
For he has brought low
the inhabitants of the height;
the lofty city he lays low.
He lays it low to the ground,
casts it to the dust.
The foot tramples it,
the feet of the poor,
the steps of the needy.
The way of the righteous is level;
O Just One, you make smooth the path of the righteous.
In the path of your judgments,
O LORD, we wait for you;
your name and your renown
are the soul’s desire.
My soul yearns for you in the night,
my spirit within me earnestly seeks you.
For when your judgments are in the earth,
the inhabitants of the world learn righteousness.
If favor is shown to the wicked,
they do not learn righteousness;
in the land of uprightness they deal perversely
and do not see the majesty of the LORD.
O LORD, your hand is lifted up,
but they do not see it.
Let them see your zeal for your people, and be ashamed.
Let the fire for your adversaries consume them.
O LORD, you will ordain peace for us,
for indeed, all that we have done, you have done for us.
O LORD our God,
other lords besides you have ruled over us,
but we acknowledge your name alone.
The dead do not live;
shades do not rise—
because you have punished and destroyed them,
and wiped out all memory of them.
But you have increased the nation, O LORD,
you have increased the nation; you are glorified;
you have enlarged all the borders of the land.
You probably have seen a child in a swimming pool, splashing around in the shallow end with floaties on each arm, supported by a parent. With unbridled glee, the child cries out, “Look, I’m swimming!” The parent, of course, brags on the little one in an effort to build confidence so that perhaps, the child might soon be swimming independently. There is a verse in today’s Scripture selection that brings such a scene to mind. “All that we have done,” it says, “you have done for us.” The prophet’s perspective is that the Lord Almighty is working wondrous things in us, and all the while we may think we have done it ourselves!
It is both humbling and liberating to remember that the work of our hands, the creativity of our minds, and the achievements of our energy ultimately are possible only through the gracious providence of God. In this passage from Isaiah, which reads very much like a psalm, we are urged to see God’s handiwork in world affairs, our national life, and in our own activities day by day.
O God, your servant Isaiah assured that you will keep one in perfect peace whose mind is focused on you. Help me to steadfastly trust in you today, through Christ my Savior. Amen.
Go with God.